Monday, August 24, 2015

Place, Movement, and Community: A Critical Reading of Hebrews 11

At the International Society of Biblical Literature meeting in Buenos Aires last month, I gave a paper entitled, "Place, Movement, and Community: A Critical Reading of Hebrews 11."  It was received rather well - somewhat to my surprise.  And I had a nice Q&A session with a lot of questions from Lawrence Schiffman of Dead Sea Scrolls fame, interestingly enough - especially interesting since, unlike my book, I did not once refer to the Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice in particular or the Dead Sea Scrolls in general.  By the way, Buenos Aires is a fantastic city for a conference.

The following is my abstract.  For anyone who wants a copy of the paper as delivered in Buenos Aires, please email me at my Illinois College account (

Borrowing insights from spatial theorists, such as Henri Lefebvre and Edward Soja, and anthropologists of movement (whether pilgrimage, emigration, or dislocated populations), this paper will explore the relationship between the building of the heavenly city by God and the use of movement among the past faithful in Hebrews 11, drawing attention to how this combination of space and movement rhetorically creates an imagined community in the face of adversity.  This paper will further investigate how these related elements of space/place and movement extend throughout the fabric of the homily. 

Camino, Hebrews, and Mysticism

It has been a long while since I have posted anything, and now, as the semester is about to start, seems the worst time to start posting things.  Nonetheless, I have a few things to create a series of posts about - and hopefully I'll have the time to bring them through to completion - due to my many busy activities this summer.

This summer I led a group of students on the Camino de Santiago, walking a portion in France and the final portion in Spain.  I also presented at the International Society of Biblical Literature's Hebrews Group in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  I will also present on a similar theme (space, time, etc. in Hebrews) at the annual meeting this November.  Finally, I am slated to turn in an Encyclopedia article on the general trends of methods of studying mysticism in the past century or so.

I want to use the blog as a (hyper)space to recall issues from the Camino and round out some comments on methods of researching mysticism (since the article length is pretty short).  So hopefully I'll get some regular posts going again and shake the dust-bytes off this old blog.  Happy reading!